Thursday, August 5, 2010

gPal, let me count the ways

I wanted to like gPal. I really did. And I'd heard good things, not least of which was that "they aren't those anti-gun @#$^@#$% over at PayPal".

Then my experience started going south. I have set-up a blegcan here on the blog, a number of work-related links on a different account, and finally (as most of you know, I'm running for public office this time around) an online campaign donation system.

The campaign donation system is a *failure*. Not because of the interface - but because the mechanism they use to validate a bank account for transfer (send tiny amount of money account, have user report that back to gPal, and then the account is "validated" for further transfers) is broken - and they consistently refuse to implement alternative measures to validate. A good interface is fairly useless if it doesn't move funds.

I'm stuck with an interface that can't accept or transfer campaign donation funds. And this morning I find the Customer Service number has a neat-o "auto-hangup" feature that kicks in about 20 seconds in. Makes it hard to resolve issues.

I've been busy enough, however, to have that on my back burner. So why the sudden attention?

I heard I was not alone, and read gPal tale of woe and ineptness told by RobbAllen over at Sharp as a Marble. This persuaded me that all was not lovely in gPal-land. I'm now actively considering alternatives for the campaign, for my workplace, and for the bleg-box on this blog...

I like to keep my money and my business in the communities I support, and by preference with vendors in those communities whose hand I've shaken and with whom I can at least delude myself that I have a relationship upon which some trust can be based.

I looking for a trustworthy hoplophiliac and LGBT-friendly vendor that can "just make it work" while not going all weird (yes, I mean you, PayPal) and randomly confiscating funds that they whimsically deem to be derived from or benefiting issues or causes they get a wild hair to condemn. A company may have the *right* to engage in such whimsical behavior, but I have the right to choose to do business with someone consistent and trustworthy.

Anyone have any ideas?

I'd still *like* to like gPal, and they seem nice enough people. But failure to notify and refusal to set up alternative mechanisms for validation has really undermined my confidence.

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